TRIPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Hawaii -- The first Medical Explorer Post on Oahu held its initial organizational meeting, here, Jan. 28.

Tripler Army Medical Center has partnered with the Boy Scouts of America using a Learning for Life Health Career Exploring program to bring real-world medical and health career experiences to young men and women on island.

Lt. Col. Lozay Foots, director, Medicine Nursing Services, TAMC, is the principal advisor for Post 1948. He said two high schools near TAMC were chosen to test out the program; Radford and Moanalua High Schools.

Foots and two representatives from BSA, Ryan Blangiardi and Keao Miller, went to both high schools and spoke with students about what the program has to offer.

"(The post mission) is about helping them explore their career paths and choices," Foots said. "We want to put them in and provide them (medical and health) activities so they can see that they can aspire to be whatever they want to be."

Participating students elected a student committee of leaders that will help the Adult Leader Explorers manage the post.

More than 40 students attended the meeting and Foots, who was a boy scout during his youth, said he has about a dozen members of Tripler's staff have volunteered to act as Adult Leader Explorers.

One of those volunteers is Lt. Col. Todd Briere, chief, Patient Administration Division, TAMC.
"(The post is an) excellent opportunity for these students to participate in," said Briere, who also was a boy scout. "Explorer scouts make decisions on what they want to explore and we (volunteers) just guide them (along the way)."

Briere said when people initially think of PAD, paperwork and medical records come to mind, but he hopes the department will be able to offer more.

"In combat, (PAD) deals with movement of patients and evacuation for patients," Briere said. "We hope to organize some (two-man carry and litter, or collapsible stretcher,) training and possibly an obstacle course for the students."

Foots agreed and said the explorer leaders hope to "encapsulate the hospital environment" for the students. The post plans take the students to explore Tripler and other military clinics on island to observe a variety of health care providers in their work environments.

The idea for the post came from Brig. Gen. Keith Gallagher, commanding general, Pacific Regional Medical Command and TAMC, who had started an explorers' post when he was stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky.

"The sky is the limit," Foots said. "The (commanding general's) vision is that (in future years) it will be open to all the high schools on island and that we will eventually be able to partner with all the different medical communities on the island."

The Medical Explorer Post meets the second and fourth Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. in Kyser Auditorium and the application fee is $10.